Sunday 17 December 2017

Ireland have not been up to scratch - Porterfield

Ireland's George Dockrell. Photo: Tsering Topgyal/AP Photo
Ireland's George Dockrell. Photo: Tsering Topgyal/AP Photo

David Townsend

George Dockrell can hold his head high when Ireland fly home from India today but his team-mates will want to forget their miserable World T20 campaign as quickly as possible after losing to the Netherlands in Dharamsala to finish rock bottom of qualifying Group A.

Left-armer Dockrell, who was omitted from the team that lost to Oman, took 3-7 from two overs as the Dutch side posted 59-5 from six overs in another rain-reduced match but then watched on in disbelief as his batting colleagues slumped from 28-1 after two overs to lose by 12 runs.

Ireland's pursuit started well with 28 runs arriving from the first two overs, with William Porterfield flicking the first ball for four and Paul Stirling hitting two sixes, but they were hampered by losing two wickets in as many balls on two occasions.


Kevin O'Brien was the victim of a brilliant full-length diving catch from Pieter Seelaar at deep midwicket, while Stirling and Gary Wilson picked out short third man before Andrew Poynter holed out first ball.

With 25 runs required from 12 deliveries, Mudassar Bukhari conceded only five from the penultimate over to leave too much to do from the last, bowled by man of the match Paul van Meekeren, whose 4-11 restricted Ireland to 47-7.

Holland's opening batsman Stephan Myburgh struck 27 from 18 balls, hitting two fours in both the first and last overs, until he was run out from the penultimate delivery of the innings.

While it would be unfair to read too much into a six-over thrash, Ireland's inability to finish off sides from dominant positions will be a concern to coach John Bracewell when he analyses recent results.

Ireland, who failed to score 45 to win from 48 balls with nine wickets in hand against the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi last month, could not defend 14 in the final over against Oman and this time made a hash of finding 32 from four overs, again with nine wickets in the bank.

The Netherlands bowled with control to record their second victory over Ireland in as many World T20 finals but the hot-headed approach of several batsman showed a lack of composure, at the very least.

Other signs of a team not quite on its game were evident in the field as chances were again spilled, as they had been in the abandoned game against Bangladesh, whereas the match turned on that spectacular catch by Seelar to dismiss O'Brien for a duck.

"I'm making no excuses - we weren't good enough in this tournament," skipper Porterfield said. "You can say what you like about the weather but when we have been on the pitch we haven't been up to scratch. It's hard to put your finger on why because we were well prepared.

"George bowled really well. He got a bit of assistance from the pitch but you've still got to go out there and do it, especially bowling an over in the powerplay with only two men on the boundary.

"But we lost the game in the last four overs with the bat opposed to anything with the ball."

Meanwhile, Tamim Iqbal smashed Bangladesh's first T20 international century to ease his side into the main draw with a comprehensive defeat of Oman.

Bangladesh racked up 180-2, and then restricted Oman to 65-9 in 12 overs on a rainy night in Dharamsala.

They progress to the Super 10 stage, where they will join the big boys - they are in a pool with Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan.

"We can't make any mistakes in the main draw," said captain Mashrafe Mortaza: "If you want to perform, you have to play fearless cricket."

Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe by 59 runs in Saturday's Group B decider and will take on England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies in the main tournament.

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